As we build up to Christmas, and all that Christmas entails (tinsel, trees, supernatural gift-bearing “men”, family fights) it's time to take another look at the current board game scene to see what the news is. It's been two months since I let you all know what's going down right now in a news-style fashion, and you know what? LOADS IS GOING DOWN.
The biggest bit of news is obviously the merger of Fantasy Flight Games into the Asmodee Group. If you're a board gamer, you will probably have Fantasy Flight and Asmodee games in your collection, and it's weird to see these two big behemoths come together. This is probably the biggest proper actual factual board game actual-news-style news that has happened in recent years. I mean, usually board game news is all like “Oh, look, a new plastic man is coming out for a game about wee men shooting things at a thing!” But this is like proper news that businessmen talk about and stuff. This is some hardcore Financial Times shit. Here's the press release about the merger.
Now, as big as Fantasy Flight are already, it'll be interesting to see what will happen next with access to Asmodee's incredible distribution reach. (I almost sounded like I knew what I was talking about there!) It'll also be interesting to see how Fantasy Flight's IP-licensing deals feed into the wider Asmodee range, if at all. We have a bona fide giant on our hands now, and I'd love to see a stronger attempt to get some of Fantasy Flight's great hobby games onto conventional shop shelves. It can't all be HASBRO HASBRO HASBRO, can it? I dunno. What will happen? Are you worried about this at all? Is there a downside? Talk to me, people! I'm always looking at the positive side of these things. Are any alarm bells ringing for you?
What if it all goes on fire and asplodes?!
D&D ATTACK WING IS OUT THERE
Well, here's a one. I'm a big fan of the X-Wing Miniatures Game, so I wasn't really interested in the D&D spin on the same kind of system. But I walked into my local game shop the other day and MAN ALIVE THESE THINGS IS GOOD LOOKIN'.
(Okay, look, I'm not sure this counts as news. But it's something that's happening now. It's certainly new. And it's causing me DRAMA in my HEAD.)
I knew that there were big dragons on the way, and weirdly I'm still not too fussed about those. But ground units? Wee men? Wee guys? Units of wee soldier guys and stuff? And dragons on top of that?
As this stuff starts to roll out I'm finding it hard to resist. I hear that the game is quite a bit more complicated than X-Wing or the Star Trek Attack Wing, so that turns me off a little bit. But those wee guys everywhere, and the dragons and the flying dragons and the wee men down below and the wee men and the dragons. Someone tell me that this is no good – save me some money.
I have no room in my house for more dragons and wee men.
SOUND AS A POUND
A few people pointed me towards TabletopAudio this past week, and I instantly bookmarked it. This website is fantastic. It's a collection of 10 minute long ambient audio tracks that will create an appropriate atmosphere at your game table. Playing Spartacus? Start the Colosseum track whenever a fight happens. Playing Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective? Start the Victorian London track whenever you don't have a clue where to go next. And the quality of these tracks is mad high. The guy behind the site says he enjoys making “10 minute films out of sound”, and that's exactly what these are like. Check them out, use them, and support the guy behind it by flinging him a few dollars on his Patreon. He's doing us all a fine service here.
DESCENT GETS A CAMPAIGN BOOK
Descent's First Edition had a campaign book, but the thing was notorious for having errors and some weird, patchy scenarios. With luck, this campaign book for Second Edition will be far more solid. It's called Heirs of Blood and it delivers a big campaign using only the base game materials. That's a good thing, right? They could have used this opportunity to force players to pick up an expansion or two to enjoy this campaign, but no – base game and book and you have months and months of solid play ahead of you. That's refreshing.
Descent: Second Edition is a fine, fine game and a game I strongly recommend. Fantasy Flight's support for the line has been fantastic too, with no sign of slowing. Get in now. You won't regret it.
NEW MAGE KNIGHT STUFF
It's only one of the best board games ever made. And a new expansion is on its way. Now this is early early EARLY news. It won't be a 2014 release, but it's happening for sure. And that's a great thing, because I'd felt that we might not see any more Mage Knight stuff. Rumours are (and these are just rumours, only rumours) that there might be more of an undead leaning to the theme of this expansion. Who knows?
Who cares? This expansion could be a recipe for a nice cocktail to drink while playing the game and I'd still be pre-ordering it as soon as possible. You do all have Mage Knight by now, right?
There are three more columns until Christmas, so from next week I'll be suggesting some Christmas gifts for your horrible family, and deciding on my GAME OF THE YEAR. I'll also blast a review or two into the mix. I want to tell you all about the Woodland expansion for Talisman, even though you all make fun of me every time I talk about how much of a Talisman fan I am. I really hate you for that.
See you next time!